Groenhart dismisses mind games, takes title from Doumbé
Sunday, Aug 27 2017 by John O’Regan
The main event fight between defending welterweight champion Cedric Doumbe and challenger Murthel Groenhart started while the two were making their way to the ring.
Groenhart set the walk-out bar high with a long and passionate rendition of the Queen anthem ‘We Are The Champions’, taking several minutes to make his way down the catwalk and into the ring.
Not to be outdone, Doumbe put on a dance masterclass when making his entrance, letting his hip-hop entrance music play out almost its full length as he strutted and pranced his way to the ring in a display of alpha-male credentials.
Groenhart barely glanced in his direction. Doumbe likes to provoke his opponents, because an angry fighter is an unthinking fighter. Groenhart had successfully avoided being irritated by Doumbe’s online taunting in the build up to the bout and he was not about to let his focus crack now.
Mind games are a key weapon for Doumbe, before the fight and during it. He likes to taunt opponents and push their tempers into the red, thereby making them more predictable. He tried his best to make Groenhart lose composure during the fight, but to no avail.
A good example came towards the end of the third round, when a scrappy clinch ended with Doumbe on the ropes but facing outwards toward the crowd. Groenhart threw a looping hook from behind, the same shot which ended his fight against Harut Grigorian in such controversial fashion at GLORY 42 early this year.
Doumbe’s reaction was to drop his jaw in pretend amazement and then burst into laughter. In the run up to the fight he had baited Groenhart by calling him “a cheater” for the way he had finished Grigorian, and now his facial expression said ‘See, I told you so!’
He then turned on Groenhart and swung wild punches at him before engaging him in a clinch, tripping him to the floor and then standing over him, bent over so his face was in Groenhart’s, and taunting him. Groenhart maintained his composure; he knew Doumbe wanted him to lose his temper.
Maintaining composure was Groenhart’s key to victory. So long as he kept his mind clear, he was dangerous. and so Doumbe’s efforts to cloud his mind with anger. Groenhart was definitely heated – it felt like his blows had a little extra venom in them, just for Doumbé.
Mind games aside, the scoring was close in what turned out to be a scrappy and sometimes chaotic five-round fight. Both landed numerous good shots and lots of lesser blows across the duration, Groenhart the aggressor and Doumbé landing on the counter, particularly with leg kicks.
It was a close fight and that was reflected in the judges’ scoring. Of the three ringside officials one saw the fight for the defending champion and the other two had it for the challenger, thus making Groenhart the new champion by way of a split-decision win.
An ecstatic Groenhart jumped onto the ring ropes to celebrate. It wasn’t as decisive a victory as he would have liked, but his journey from challenger to champion has been beset with obstacles, bad luck and hardships.
Winning the title rewards years of hard work and dedication and also sets a record: he becomes the first fighter to have been both a K-1 champion (K-1 MAX winner, 2012) and a GLORY champion.
Murthel Groenhart def. Cedric Doumbe, Split Decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46)